Frenchman Frank Lecerf set off for the supermarket Saturday morning, like he does every Saturday morning. An hour later his car was in a ditch in Belgium after he led police on a wild 125 MPH chase. The reason? He claims his car accelerated on its own.
Lecerf's wild ride occurred last week, when he decided to drive his Renault Laguna 3, which is adapted for disabled drivers, to get some groceries. On the way there, Lecerf says that the throttle stuck while he was going 60 MPH.
He says that he hit the brakes, but each time that only made the car accelerate. Before he knew it, he was going 125 MPH and heading straight for Belgium. Lecerf called authorities who then escorted him through tolls and around traffic at 125 MPH until the car ran out of gas.
Lecerf said that he suffered two epileptic seizures as a result of the ordeal.
We've heard of runaway cars like this before, but there are a few things I find troubling.
Lecerf was on the phone with emergency services, police, and a technician from Renault and "no solution could be found." A good solution would be to turn the car off (not all the way so the steering locks) and let it roll to a stop. Right? I can't be alone there. Hell, why not just shift into neutral? Even if it were a model with keyless start and other new systems, I think there would have to be a failsafe to shut it down safely in an event like this.
Also, going 125 MPH for an hour straight without hitting traffic seems fairly unlikely. The road he was on, the A16, is a two lane (in each direction, four total) highway that weaves through the north of France. Sure, it is around a pretty lowly populated area and yes he had cops with him for a lot of the journey that did an excellent job coordinating things with other agencies and the traffic authorities, but when the car first hit 125 it was him by himself. There was no point where there were two cars next to each other and he couldn't get by? I'm slightly skeptical because it sounds like Lecerf wasn't all that calm during the hour long chase either.
Lecerf says he had two epileptic seizures as a result of the incident. I don't doubt that, since it was a harrowing experience. The reports from the scene don't say if he had them during the drive or after the drive. I'd have to venture a guess that they were after the drive. A seizure is obviously a serious episode and having one while driving will almost definitely make you lose control of the car. In a case where he's threading the needle at 125 MPH with a police escort, I don't think it's possible that he could have a seizure and maintain control of the car the whole time.
Regardless, Lecerf is safe and is now pursuing legal action against Renault, as he says this is the second time his car has gone a bit haywire. Renault is yet to comment.
(Thanks for the Hat Tip everyone!)
Photo Credit: Nathan E via flickr